2013 Winter Meetings: Justin Ruggiano, Greg Dobbs on trade block

Greg Dobbs may not be a Miami Marlin for much longer. - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins are apparently exploring trade options outside of Logan Morrison, as the team may be offering Justin Ruggiano and Greg Dobbs for trade as well.

The Miami Marlins have their primary task of trading the extraneous Logan Morrison first and foremost in their mind, but that does not mean it is the only thing they have to take care of during the 2013 Winter Meetings. Miami is rumored to also be interested in trading outfielder Justin Ruggiano and, surprisingly, veteran grit guy Greg Dobbs. A source told MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that the team has listened to offers for Ruggiano. At the same time, MLB.com's Mark Bowman has the information on a potential Dobbs move.

Miami's interest in trading Ruggiano comes as no surprise. The Fish have four outfielders whom they would like to play in the next few seasons between Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Jake Marisnick. The team has no spot for Ruggiano in the prospective starting lineup, even though he may very well be the team's second best outfielder right now despite his struggle of a 2013 season. Last year, Ruggiano was second on the Marlins with 18 home runs but also suffered through a hitless streak that sunk his campaign; he finished the year batting .222/.298/.396 (.307 wOBA).

Ruggiano could be a fit for a team interested in either a corner outfield spot or a center field position if the club is OK with a lower-tier starting player. The better option would be for Ruggiano to serve as a lefty-mashing platoon partner, as he owns a career .256/.328/.506 (.360 wOBA) line against left-handers. The Marlins' only lefty outfielder is Yelich, and the Fish have a heavy developmental investment on him becoming a capable hitter, so Miami would be best served allowing Yelich to face left-handed pitching.

Who might be interested in Ruggiano? Not a lot of teams have overt outfield needs at the moment, as a number of free agent outfielders have already been signed. Less talented squads like the New York Mets or Houston Astros could hold interest in Ruggiano as a stopgap option who would still be relatively cheap for the next three years. The Baltimore Orioles are apparently looking for outfielders according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, so Ruggiano could be a decent option.

As for Dobbs, trading him at this point would be a welcome, if not puzzling, move. Owner Jeffrey Loria went out of his way to sign Dobbs to a one-year deal during the season and behind the backs of Larry Beinfest and the front office. For the Fish to then all of a sudden pursue a trade after signing the player instead of simply letting him walk in free agency is absurd. Dobbs is a career .263/.308/.390 (.302 wOBA) hitter who hit just .228/.303/.300 in 2013. The need for a player like Dobbs, a veteran lefty bat off the bench with no defensive value, seemed low at the time of the signing and is probably still low now. Bowman mentions the Atlanta Braves as a potential fit, but Miami would be lucky to find anyone to pick up the scraps of Dobbs's career, let alone get value in return.

The Marlins are continuing to look for a third baseman or a veteran reliever to help fill the void after Chad Qualls left to sign with the Astros. Chances are that any trade involving Ruggiano or Dobbs would involve relief help, as I do not imagine the team could pick up a strong third base candidate from either player. Stay tuned to Fish Stripes for more Winter Meetings coverage!

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